The Kenya women national team has made history by qualifying for the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals in Cameroon later in the year after playing to a 1 – 1 draw with Algeria in the second leg of the final round of qualifiers.
After playing to a 2 – 2 draw in the first leg in Algiers, Kenya’s work was easier in the return leg at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani.
Starlets were buoyed by a huge fan base after the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) declared free entry for fans and they thought they had opened the scoring on 16 minutes but Mwanahalima Adam’s goal was disallowed for offside.
Algeria had the presence of mind and stamina to hold off Starlets, who perhaps gave their best display in the better part of the first half raiding their opponents.
Bouheni Naima opened the scores in the 23rd minute after Starlets conceded a free kick outside the goal area and failed to clear well.
On the 28th minute Essy Akida blasted a good opportunity wide to deny Kenya the leveler and a minute later Mary Kinuthia hit the crossbar.
The match came alive on the half hour mark as Starlets gained a foothold on the game but they failed to convert their chances.
Starlets coach David Ouma pulled a masterclass, pulling out the skipper Ann Aluoch for Cheris Avilia and Avilia, a KeMU striker proved the difference, scoring the equalizer after Algeria failed to clear Christine Nafula’s free kick on the 75th minute.
Starlets held on to secure their first ever appearance at a continental tournament, the finals to be staged in Cameroon later this year.